Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A HUMBUG VALENTINE


We entertain fantasy in our lives to end a dull, wretched, unfulfilling life …but, nothing can beat the out-of-control surges that come with falling in love. Or, should I say infatuation? I was sixteen…quite young for my days, when the little winged arrow shooter hit me with his stupid arrows. I thought cupids never made mistakes; after all they were like Gods in Greek and Roman Mythology. But, this time his wonderful archery took me to the target and split several arrows with the same deliberation and made me blind

I’d always been dismissive by nature, even suspicious of strangers. But, this time I couldn't handle myself. Gaurav stayed with us for a few days and turned my innocent heart boutiquey and blind..

 Ah! This humbug valentine in her teenage was so deliciously stupid.

 Mangoes had arrived on the dining table. Baba dug into his and mumbled something through a mouthful of pulp. Ma said something, and left the room; a little bell pealed softly as Ma passed through the door. Breakfasts with Baba on Sundays were always eventful…but, today the cumbersome silence was difficult to combat.

 Ma always said, 'you've got to learn to separate make-believe from real life.' But, love has eternally been the enemy of justice! Taming it, wasn’t easy for me too --Ma returned with a tray of tea cups, narrowing her eyes on my untouched plate, she yelled,’what’s the matter, Munia?’

 I looked up mistily at her. My parents exchanged an astonished glare. Baba shrugged.

 Ma sat down chewing her lips, softly asked me, ‘Are you unwell…?’ I kept fiddling with my fingers for some time and pouted:’ I want strawberry shake’.

 Baba looked at me, and almost pleadingly asked… ‘Hey Munia, what happened? …dreaming strawberries?'

 He started humming,

Let me take you down,

'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.

 Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever….” ------------Baba was singing suppressing a smirk. ‘Well, no dreamers can succeed without help, Munia. Pa-int what you-u-are-e drea-ming, sweetheart ..Ta..ra...Ta-ra-ra..! He started whistling to the tune of Beatles.

 I remained silent. The sun was bobbing in and out through the dusty clouds. Ma, with a heady excitement hissed, ‘Yes, last night you were crying in your sleep. Ahh, najor legeche’… Without hearing the details, she started making spitting sounds of condemnation…. ‘thu..thu.thu.’, and Baba dribbled his laughter till it ran….

 But suddenly he stopped chewing; raising his eyebrows, he poked me disspiritedly this time, ‘What’s the matter? Are you happy or nervous or excited or upset..? Or, are you just being a drama queen?’

 I shook my head taking a deep breath and stuffed a portion into my mouth, and started chewing…Baba looked at me solemnly for a moment and then his face crumpled into laughter: ‘You’re really in love, aren’t you? But, who’s the lucky boy?'. He put his hand on my head and ruffled my hair; rose, quickened his pace and left the room. I slumped back again, raising my face to the ceiling…. His simplest question was leading to a hundred possible answers…!

 Love was in the air…

 Gaurav was doing his internship in surgery and had a practical do-it-yourself side to his nature which meshed neatly with the ambience of our house. Often, I found him helping ma in the kitchen. Initially, I was irritated about infringing rights…but, gradually I came across those silvery star-like eyes, which glimmered with so much life while staring at me. Oh, he sucked the marrow out of my life…

 Gaurav was very good at hiding his feelings, unlike a ranting bunny like me…. I spent sleepless nights in my room, ranting and raving at myself harboring romantic thoughts. I was almost certain, that he was also nurturing the blossoms of our love silently in his room.....

 Next morning I woke up to find that ma was not home. Baba had left for work. Gaurav was having his morning tea in the veranda outside. He was deeply engrossed in reading. I coughed and shuffled my feet to announce my arrival. He folded his book neatly and drew out a packet of cigarette and after a moment’s hesitation offered it to me.’ Would you care to smoke one? Mirandians smoke…right? ’

 ‘No,' I said and looked away. I was leaning against the wall. I straightened and, without any inhibition asked him blatantly,’ have you ever been to the Coffee House in Mohan Singh Place? You get imported jeans there…’ My voice sounded silly to my own ears; nevertheless, I stood in front of him like a glittering peacock...

 Gaurav was attracting me like a magnet-- with his charm, his nonchalance, his grace, he was at it so majestically.Oh, my Romeo was no less than Amitabh Bacchan!!

 So, the next move was to get him to the Coffee House --- because that WAS the joint for lovey-dovey couples during our times. I’d seen couples sharing dosas, vadas from a common plate. Ahh, a kind of intimacy my friends, Rita and Rajeev shared---a kind of love, they gave to each other…hell, I needed a partner like that!! …I gasped.

 Simple minded Gaurav, didn't dwell too long to decide. As I was scraping the papery tips of my fingers, he said, walking determinedly towards his room,' Go and get ready fast.We're going now---We'll go to 'Bookworm' first and then have South Indian meals in the Coffee House.'

I was always a creative and imaginative kid, and the thrill of dressing up for my fictional hero lit up my soul.

We boarded a DTC bus for CP; and I deliberately took the last seat. Vasudha and Ajay used to take the last seats daily in U-spls. Oh, soon I was soaring; stretching my silvery wings over the new skies…The bus was old, so it rattled, shook and vibrated all the way through the Delhi roads. A serene smile was plastered on Gaurav’s face. He looked at me….I was blushing with smugness. It was a long stretch of relief and excitement….

Gaurav kept chatting with me for a long time till the wild, irresponsible me was calm enough to sleep... He was surely baffled and shocked and perhaps slain to feel anything at all...

 A raucous sound startled me; and I woke up in embarrassment. My hand was resting on Gaurav’s arm, I pulled it away quickly; noticed that he was staring at it discreetly. I hid both my hands in my lap to save myself from the awkwardness of the moment. Gaurav holding his book in hand, looked over the top of my head out of the window. We were close to CP now.

 He cleared his throat, breaking in: ‘You were telling me about the Coffee House and then you fell silent…’ and laughed jovially.

The air was uncomfortable. Suddenly I noticed that his hairy, strong hands were coming to grasp mine. ‘No, I cried, shrinking back. ‘oh, no---that is not what I want at all—please.'

 The 'flame' that was glowing within me so lividly all this while 'doused' in seconds.... He was looking perplexed, fearful... but, he insisted, stammering.’ I mean---look at that black insect sitting on your hand, and I was only trying to flick it…’. And his hand shot out and slapped at the huge bumble bee.

 I screamed looking at that huge evil-looking insect as it fell down, buzzing in alarm. All the passengers were now staring at us. Gaurav was looking like an angry silent cobra. He was probably more embarrassed than me.

I sat still, till we reached the destination.... all dreams vanished into thin air; people were gaping at us with their mouths open, even the insect’s mouth was wide-open when I saw it last lying dead on the floor...
Striking a note of relief, a cuckoo called on the knoll...







44 comments:

  1. ...great story!
    ' even the insect’s mouth was wide-open when I saw it last lying dead '...skills of a great storyteller!!

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    1. Amit,

      I am so very pleased you liked this.:)Thanks for the patient reading. I am glad you liked the story-teller! That's truely inspiring...
      Thanks :)

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  2. That was a nice read ...Very professional flow :)And poor bumble bee!

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    1. Jayshree,

      For you to say you enjoyed the offering more than justifies my labor. Thank you so much !!Yeah...that li'l fellow had to die...sob sob..

      :)))
      Thanks a bunch!

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  3. Lol, Panchali, even the writing had that awkward first teenaged love feel:):)
    Sorry, the crush got crushed so soon...still:):)
    hahaha...

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    1. Awww Bhavana... Your laughter engulfed my ears. What more can I say...? :)))))) The crush was barren of all potentials...hence, everything had to collapse :(((
      Now I wonder how I did that...!!!. Sobering thought… to know how silly I was.LOL...
      Thanks for your patience in reading it all and for your delightful comment!!

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  4. Very nice read! What an effortless story telling...kudos!

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    1. Welcome to my space, Rajrupa...Thank you dear friend. It was such a pleasure to have you along on this journey... to share... to learn... to experience about my first crush.

      Thank you fo your appreciative comment, I really appreciate. Now since we have met here, would love to see you more here :))
      Thanks!!

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  5. what a lovely story !!! sweet and nice :)

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    1. TTT !! Lovely as always to see you here:)) I am glad you approved of it...Thanks a bunch :))

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    1. Rajesh !! Good to have you here! Thanks for the patient reading and for your wonderful comments.
      Thankss:)

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  7. Hey good one! Well, all crushes don't materialize, do they? So real. And, I loved your choice of words, "Sucked the marrow out of my life."

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    1. Rachna....I agree with you:)) How absolutely perfect I thought my love was …!? And he took root in my heart... possessed me utterly..:p
      arghh...how silly I was !!
      Thanks for being here and for your adorable comment.

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  8. Delightfully romantic and a true crush! Beautifully penned!

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    1. hahhaa...I still don’t know why he drove me with such an all consuming passion...!!
      Thanks magiceye for the encouragement...

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  9. And that was the end of your story!
    What a 'bugging' ending :p

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    1. Bugs still drive me crazy... :D
      Thanks Purba...:)

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  10. are you a published author? this is exceptional writing!! how beautifully you portrayed teenage love.

    but it's sad that the bumble bee had to die.

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    1. No...no, Debajyoti...I am not a writer, but I write, and that is for sheer timepass...:)

      God is at work in our lives in ways that we so often never notice. So thank you God for sending a Bumble Bee….and of course for not letting the bee sting me...:P:P
      Very pleased and gratified to have suh a lovely comment :)Thanks a lot!

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  11. A very simple yet brilliantly penned. I am not just that into 'love' stories but you kept me on and on over this one. :)

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    1. Thanks Asish...It's thrilling to know that you enjoyed reading this 'love-story' kinda thing. Its been a fabulous experience for me to have you along on this journey too...Thanks for your lovely comment.

      Indeed...who cares for those silly Mills and Boons at this age!:-)Thankss

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  12. :) Teenage love. Blinding it its. If people weren't 'young-and-foolish' as they say, we wouldn't have interesting stories like this. And that cupid chap does make mistakes, right? :D
    And your writing -- pleasant as always.

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    1. Thanks so much, Divya.
      Yeah...we are all aware of this mischievous fellow, armed with those reckless bows and arrows inspiring romantic love stories....and most of the time, he causes so much embarrassment---eeks!
      LOL..Glad you enjoyed reading this...am so pleased :-)
      Thanksssss

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  13. wonderful , very good read ..:)

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    1. Good to see you, Saikat. Thanks a lot for the encouragement..:)

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  14. This was beautiful. And nostalgic... *gets misty-eyed herself*

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  15. So good to see you Sudeshna !!..thanks for that nice comment..means a lot to me re..:))

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  16. it was a very intresting read,and so well written that i could visualise it in my mind while reading..and the end was an absolute twist..enjoyes evry bit

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    1. Thanks alka...well im glad the past is buried... and the twist had to com with destiny, I guess..:)))

      Oh, thanks soooo much for being here with such a warm comment.

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  17. I just wish I never grow out of this age. The teenage where love is more about feeling and less about thinking.

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    1. A warm welcome to my space, Abhyudaya....:))
      Indeed... the sheer pleasure of feeling of love in life seems so much worth living those days...arghh !!:)))
      lovely to have your presence here, would love to have you more here!
      Thank you.

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  18. Awww that was such a nice read. DTC, birds and love...:)

    Quite a refreshing story!

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    1. Thanks a LOT, Saru for that sweet comment :)) Delighted absolutely! Do come back...plz:)

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  19. Ah, love gives me a sting...lol

    Wonderfully written :))

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    1. Ghaz...thanks !! Love stings...always :((

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  20. Boy! Do you write well! Loved the narration and the tension and the ending? Icing on the cake! First time here. Hope you have an email subscription option. :)

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    1. Zephyr!
      I had begun to despair. I thought you'd never come to read me. So good to see you. Thanks so much !!
      Btw, what's that email subscription thingy? Let me ask you in fb...now!:))
      Thanks a ton!

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    1. Thanks Animesh! Ya...this story is going to make everyone think more like that.. ...:-))))
      Good to see you here!

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  22. I read your post interesting and informative. I am doing research on bloggers who use effectively blog for disseminate information.My Thesis titled as "Study on Blogging Pattern Of Selected Bloggers(Indians)".I glad if u wish to participate in my research.Please contact me through mail. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Priyaranjan for stopping by...and for your offer. I am sorry, I don't think I can be part of your project. My posts are never informative---they are basically creative and out of my crazy imagination!!

      Delete
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